Monday, October 24

Sorry Flamenco

I need to make a public apology to Flamenco - one of our newly planted strawberry varieties.

One variety of strawberry has produced most of our strawberry harvest this year - being newly planted this was more than expected. I have mistakenly attributed this harvest to Marshmello but this wasn’t the case.
To those of you who keep telling us we are very organised this just goes to prove all is not what it seems. The error was noted as I was tidying the strawberry bed. I’d left labels by each plant which as the leaves grew had been hidden in the foliage. This revealed that what I thought was Marshmello was Flamenco and vice versa meaning our main cropper was in fact the ever bearing variety Flamenco. This does make more sense.

Our total cropping was Flamenco 8.5kg, Amelia (late cropper) 0.5kg and Marshmarvel (an early cropper that seemed to produce a few fruits late on) 0.75kg. Marshmello (mid season) didn’t produce any fruits but we know that this is usually a good cropper and the late planting of the new plants would be the reason for this failure - I’m sure it will redeem itself next year.

We’d also mixed up Amelia with Marshmarvel. The reason for the mix up was that I had drawn the rough plan from one side of the bed and Martyn had copied this onto the computer from another side. This also means that we had joint ownership for the mistake which is best all round. In case you're wondering I've also remembered to change the labels round on the potted on runners in our cold frame.

If you remember we used a black porous biodegradable mulching fabric on the new strawberry bed. This was covered with straw and the entire bed netted to protect from birds. You can read about all that here.
I removed all the netting in spite of Flamenco still having lots of unripe strawberries. I doubt whether these will make it to the table as most are being spoiled by the cool, damp conditions. I’m happy to donate any that do turn reddish to any hungry birds.
Once the netting was removed, all the straw was scraped off and consigned to the compost heap.

I then tidied up each plant by removing any runners, that had managed to hang on despite my best efforts to cut them off, and any old or dead leaves. Normally I would cut off most of the leaves immediately after fruiting but this year I’ve been a little kinder to these young plants. Next year they’ll get the full treatment!
The black mulch appears to have worked at keeping down the weeds - there were very few weeds managing to grow amongst the plants - just the odd bit of chickweed, speedwell or spurge pushing up through the holes alongside the plants and they could be easily pulled out. There has also been relatively little slug damage - I thought that the mulch may encourage slugs. I guess both lack of weeds and slugs could be put down to the dry conditions so maybe I need to give it another year before I draw any conclusions.

The  mulch is said to last up to 16 weeks - so far it has been down 19 weeks and is still in one piece - we laid it in mid July which was probably later than ideal. It will be interesting to see what happens in the next couple of weeks. I wonder whether covering the fabric with straw could have protected it causing it to last longer.

I’m also a bit concerned that seeds from the straw have been left behind on the mulching fabric. I can’t really sweep these up so I wonder whether they’ll manage to grow in spite our best efforts at prevention. I’ll just need to try and keep on top of any that do.

Oh, and I really ought to give a special mention to our alpine strawberries which have been providing us with tiny fruits for months now. I don’t want the plants to sulk and refuse to fruit next year!


  1. You've had a good haul from Flamenco, especially as it's their first year. It's so easy to get things muddled up unless you take lots of care with labelling, something which I'm not very good at.

  2. Fortunately the labels were next to each plant JO, which is unusual that I actually do that and if I do they stay put

  3. I love alpine strawberries, they make the most delicious jam too.

  4. We don't really eat jam Kirsty so we make a compote from the berries and use it too add to natural yoghurt to make our own fruit yoghurts. Tastes good.

  5. Strawberries were a disaster for us this year due to the sunless wet Summer...even in the polytunnel

  6. It's been really dry here Bridget but not much sunshine and heat.

  7. A little bit of technology is great in the right place, and that mulch seems to have been very successful. It must be great to have such a large quantity of strawberries - those little Alpine ones must be worth a fortune!

  8. My kids like alpine strawberry very much. We have many self-seeded alpine strawberry last winter. That is the only strawberry does will in our garden and lucky that it fruits all year round. So many strawberry harvest you have this year Sue!

  9. The alpines are great, Mark but you need quite a few plants - we use them as edging. Never seen any in shops.

    Our alpines are all grown from seed and self seed too Diana. They don't manage all year round but still have an incredibly long picking season and the birds don't seem to notice them.

  10. Glad I am not the only one to confuse plant labels! I will remember your success with Flamenco for next time I plant strawberries. This year's runners are about to get potted up and put in the greenhouse for the early crop, assuming I get around to buying more compost...

  11. I really must give the alpine ones a try. My garden is littered with the other type (not sure what variety they came with the house) but they never do that well for me - I think largely due to a lack of sun. Yours look just delicious.

  12. Try growing some in a tub, Liz then you can pop them somewhere that gets the sun. If the plants came with your house they may be past it - you are generally advised to plant new plants every three years. As for alpines you do need quite a lot of plants to make growing them worthwhile we use ours to edge beds


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